“What happened to the zing?”

I was just in Madison, Wisconsin, at the National Women’s Music Festival, where I taught some workshops on catalyzing conscious relationships. Since we were in a swanky hotel, I decided it would be fun to have a happy hour chat. Nine of us sat around doing a q+a about relationships.

When one woman asked this question, the others leaned forward, straining to hear my response. “What happened to the zing?” she wondered. “It was there at the beginning–where did it go?”

I paused, knowing that this was the question that was on everyone’s mind. It’s the zing, the oomph, the hubba-hubba that gets us into relationships–so where does it go?

I asked her some questions. Like–how long have they been together (7 years), how do they do money (her partner makes the money, decides what to do with it), whose house is it (her partner’s). As we talked, I could see how much support they offered each other, feel the love between them. They held hands and exchanged loving looks. And yet–where was the zing?

Then I said it. The thing. “Power differences show up in how energy is allotted. If you’re not combining all of your energies–your money, your time, your physical energy, your creativity–the zing is going to go. Combining energies into pure co-creativity erases the power issues and brings the zing back.”

This statement caused a stir. The couples around me, even the currently single ones sat upright. Instantly people were arguing with me, defending their choices. Certainly they could keep control over what the flow of their personal resources and keep the zing; it was just about finding the right person.

I appreciate the passion of the conversation and the willingness of these folks to ask the hard questions about relationship. I love how these salt-of-the-earth Midwestern women were willing to spend their time learning new tools and opening to ideas from a person from Boulder, Colorado.

And still, I declare again what I’ve seen and experienced, both personally and with hundreds of couples : The zing comes from being met by a partner in the vulnerability of giving up control, speaking the truth, finding a place of connection beyond the familiar. If you want passion, aliveness, newness, discovery–consciously combine your energetic resources and let go into the slipstream of life. Zing can be reignited right here, right now. And its twin is risk.

8 thoughts on ““What happened to the zing?””

  1. Wow, great article, great website, Julie! I’ve been missin’ out…till now. Hopping on the Ride:) Cassie

  2. Hi Julie,

    I really like your teachings, including this one. I was in a 13 year relationship that started with a lot of zing. The zing continued until my partner became physically disabled and, as a result, chronically depressed. Our partner interactions changed to those of caregiver / dependent. Although she was still physically capable of being sexual, the shift in the dynamics prevented any “co-creativity” between us and put a total damper on my sexual feelings. I found your posting here to be quite validating, and I really appreciate it.

    However, to me your comment in this posting about “how these salt-of-the-earth Midwestern women were willing to spend their time learning new tools and opening to ideas from a person from Boulder, Colorado” has a patronizing tone to it that I find insulting. Perhaps in your discussion with these women there was joking about being “salt of the earth” or the differences between the MIdwest and Boulder, but in this post it comes across as condescending.


    1. HI Karen,

      Yes, I’ve seen that over and over, how an ongoing caretaker role can totally shift the dynamics of a relationship. I appreciate your description here.

      And–terrific feedback for me–as an old Midwestern girl myself, I took the liberty of relating as if I were still back in Illinois and imagining my ideas about people from Boulder. What I didn’t effectively communicate here would have been unarguable–that I felt scared about how my ideas were coming across and about appearing to be flaky.

      1. Julie,
        Thanks so much for this article. This is the big question, isn’t it, in relationships? What about the zing? And what are we willing to do to keep creating it over and over?

        And, one of the things I love so much about you is that you are willing to look at what people say, even if it might seem critical of you. You are willing to look at it, consider it, and respond in an unarguable way.
        love, Kat

  3. Julie, I’ve heard you say this before, and every day I hear it – especially about combining money – I can feel my stomach tighten – and I don’t even have a partner! I hope you will keep saying it. This kind of co-creativity is new and scary and it works – or so I’ve heard from you and couples I know who have done and who have gotten their zing back.

    1. And let’s keep exploring/creating the world of co-creativity, which, for me, is the final frontier–the huge world that exists “above the line.”

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